Blog 1: Izmir, Turkey to Delhi, India
Eddie James Girdner
6 January 2020. Istanbul.
6: 10 Evening. I just got to Istanbul not long ago, flying from Izmir. Coming to the new airport, it was actually slower that at the old airport. It was a very windy day and a windy, rough landing. It took a very long time to get from the runway to the gate. Seems like twenty minutes or so.
Somehow I chose the most stormy day in the winter to fly.
One thing I noticed about Turkish Airlines. Now the seats are much closer together than before. Unfortunately they have followed the other airlines doing that. Probably forced to by the economics. If one wants any kind of leg room, one must go first class these days.
I know that I chose my seat when I bought the ticket, but they stuck me in the back of the plane, only three or four seats from the back. I have to write it down after this. I was the last one out of the plane and I mentioned it to them that the seating is more cramped now.
The new airport is beautiful, but I am afraid that I will have to walk a long way to the gate. They posted that the gate number would be put up at 6:50, so I am waiting for that.
Also, this area does not have many seats. But I have an idea why. There are several cafes around. Anyway, I just want to enjoy it. I hope that I can.
I put a roll of Fuji color film in my old Minolta camera and shot a few pictures. Seems like no one cares. Why should they?
The security asked what was in my bag. Obviously, people are not carrying film cameras and film these days.
11:35 Evening. We got delayed in Istanbul because of the high winds. The plane was shaking quite wildly just sitting on the runway. Finally, we were off just before eleven. I was sitting using my cell phone with my seat belt off, when the plane suddenly lurched forward to take off. I had to quickly get the seat belt on and turn off the phone. Even though it was so windy, surprisingly, it did not feel very rough taking off. We are just past Kostamanu now at 11:38.
7 January 10:15 Morning, Delhi Time. Alka Classic Hotel, Delhi.
Well, I made it and I just got the clerk downstairs to make my bus reservations from Lucknow to Allahabad. I changed 300 dollars at the airport, but it probably was not enough, since I paid for two nights in the room in cash. That is 10,350 Rupees for the room. I also paid Rupees 2200 for the bus. So I have something like Rupees 6000 left now. The airport was paying Rupees 67 to a dollar in all places. The official rate is Rupees 71 and a half.
At the airport back in Istanbul, it took a long time to load the plane. It was almost full. Maybe just a seat or two empty, but not near me. I could not get that lucky. They waited and waited. More people kept drifting into the plane, coming late. I looked on the airport map. We were at gate 8 which is at the very end of one of the legs of the airport and completely opposite from where I came in on the domestic side. So I got a long tour.
They waited till much later, past 10:30, almost eleven, before the plane took off. They were waiting for the high winds to settle down. So I called Selma. All of a sudden, when I was talking, the plane suddenly accelerated to take off. I hardly had time to get my seat belt fastioned and turn off the phone. It was not very rough taking off. There were a few bumps later toward the east of Turkey, but that’s all.
I actually enjoy some turbulence in the plane. It reminds me of riding a ship, a tin can destroyer in the navy.
After some time, it was smoother and they served food. Not great. Chicken and rice if you wanted it, or vegetarian, otherwise. I had a white wine. It is only 127 cc. So not even a good wine glass full. I thought they would come around again, but that didn’t happen very soon.
So I walked up to the galley and asked for a glass of wine. Mostly it was red wine that was left. Another very small bottle. I had just sort of inhaled it when they did bring drinks around again. I hid the bottle, feeling guilty, and asked for another one. That way, I ended up getting three bottles. It just sort of put me down, because, I went to sleep right away.
I put the pillow and the blanket on the seat, as it was so hard, and sat on them. Even then, it was quite hard!
When I woke up, we were quite close to Delhi, somewhere over Punjab on the Indian side. We came down and landed. There was a long line for e-visas this time, but I came through quite good. Also my bag came. It was a little wet, as it had been raining in Istanbul. Probably it got wet there.
After I changed 300 dollars, I looked for the prepaid taxi booths. They had disappeared from inside the airport, it seems. Not where they were last year.
I had to get a taxi and be off to the hotel. (End of Blog 1)